My husband and I own a boat dealership, Harbor Country Marine, in New Buffalo, Michigan. Together we both run it on a day to day basis. We have been lucky enough to bring our kids to work as babies. Our son, now 14, worked for us for the first time this past summer. It truly is a family business.
But there was a day about 12 years ago that really stands out in my mind. My husband and I would often yell at each other at work. I would refer to him as the Jackass and he would refer to me as the office clerk. One day, our son was at work with us and he was just learning to talk, and I suddenly had the thought that if he ever got lost at the mall and security asked him who his parents were, he would say Jackass and Office Clerk.
We were teaching him who we were by exhibiting this disrespect toward each other and he was soaking it up like a sponge. Not only was he soaking it up, he would most likely repeat it because that is what we taught him.
My kids have forced me to see myself through their eyes. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. Kids learn by seeing. They don’t pay attention to our words nearly as much as our actions.
My kids have made me a better person. And I have taught them what our real names are, just in case.